The first part of Sullivan’s article identifies the reason why I initially thought having a blog for a class was peculiar. He mentions that “the online form rewarded a colloquial, unfinished tone”, “brevity and immediacy”, as well as pointing out the diaristic feel of blogs. Because of the impulsive nature of blogging, they can be more accident-prone, but I think the spontaneity of posting makes the writing stay closer to the actual thoughts and feelings of the blogger at the time.
He goes on to explain the libratory feeling of being able to post without the approval of people like editors. This definitely allows for freer speech and a greater diversity of voices to be heard, but blogging is not a faultless form. With the vastness of the web, there is no guarantee that a blogger will be heard. Even if someone is to view your blog, the inherent laziness of the Internet user will likely cause you to reap no feedback. A large number of bloggers simply write about their personal lives, usually garnering an audience composed of just friends. For blogs of a more political or critical nature, readers would probably tend to look for a reliable/corporate source. For anything outside of spreading cool/funny/interesting finds on the Internet, I don’t believe the blog is a good form. You may find some dialogue between heated comment posters, but this is hardly encouraged by the medium. Sullivan’s referral to the writer and reader being connected in a link liken to “friendship” is hard to believe. I do agree however that there is more power for the reader to respond to an authors writing, than in anything physical printed text. This doesn’t mean the blogger has any motive to respond though. There are many facets online where users have unreasonable trust for each other, but I don’t think trust increases the validity people feel in blogs.
Rosen’s piece is centered around a three sphere diagram. There is the Sphere of Consensus, Sphere of Legitimate Controversy, and the Sphere of Deviance. This basically is dealing with who comprises the mainstream voice, who is viewed as radicals and untrustworthy, and the grey areas inbetween. Assuming to be in any of these spheres entails having a certain view point. “The closer they think they are to the unquestioned core of consensus, the more plausible it is to present a single view as the only view” Whoever is on the “inside” group will be the ones that establish where the ground of consensus is. He states how previous to the age of blogging, dissidents to these overarching mainstream media views were “atomized”, but now are able to find each other and congregate over the internet. There was some uneasiness on whethere “what is on the internet is closer to “real public opinion” than what is in the mainstream media.” Personally I don’t think you can establish either as what the majority of people feel. People with the “same” stance on a certain subject will have a multitude of variation between each others viewpoint. Rosen cites Raymond William’s words, “There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.
The third piece by Clay Shirky helped to solidify somewhat what the presence of blogging means for the passing age of newspapers. With the passing of anything, those who were used to it will be fearful of what will come after. He states how things within our age need to be optimized for the digital age, and how this digitization of news is rendering the newspaper less useful than it once was. “The incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.”